Sunday July 1—I saw my first home run of the season at The Dutch this afternoon. I also saw the Renegades play a ninth inning for the first time this year. Unfortunately for the Hudson Valley faithful, the solo home run was hit by Brooklyn first baseman Cole Frenzel and proved to be all the offense the Cyclones needed as they blanked the Renegades 3-0. The Gades had not needed last licks in the previous games I had attended (I was covering another assignment for Patch during their lone previous home loss, to Aberdeen June 19); today, they loaded the bases on three straight singles to start the ninth but were unable to score, the fans’ rally caps (worn backward) notwithstanding.
The Renegades, who managed only three hits in the first eight innings, were hitting the ball decently but usually right at a fielder. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
Through an exchange of e-mails with the Fleischmans I had obtained Seat 6, so Ceilia Grabowiecki, my fellow Church of the Holy Spirit choir member and papal singing buddy (both of us sang in the choir assembled for Pope John Paul II’s Mass in Central Park in Manhattan Oct. 7, 1995), was able to join me for the game. We—and presumably everybody else whose seats were in the sun before the 5:05 p.m. first pitch—found ourselves literally in the hot seat, as heat and oppressive humidity continued for another day. Fortunately, frequent breezes improved the situation, as did the lengthening shadows as the sun went down.
“The Brooklyn pitcher is pretty good,” Ceilia observed early in the game. Indeed he was; Luis Mateo pitched six innings to earn his third straight victory, striking out six while allowing three hits.
Alex and Susanne made a welcome return to the stadium today after absences linked to family activities. During an unsuccessful attempt by several folks to retrieve a foul ball, Alex, with a chuckle, admonished some nearby youngsters to “Watch out for the Prospector. He moves pretty fast for an old guy!”
I had debated whether to wear a blue jersey or a white one. I finally opted for white because, if nothing else, it might be slightly cooler in the late-afternoon sun. Naturally, as my luck goes with such things, I saw the Renegades in their blue jerseys for the first time this season.
In the spirit of equal time for our neighboring major league teams, former New York Mets player (including the 1986 world champion team) and coach Howard “HoJo” Johnson was signing autographs and meeting fans at The Dutch, following in the footsteps of Jim Leyritz last night.
Even though the Renegades lost, it was still a great experience at the ballpark, especially after the enjoyable but hectic hours that preceded the game.
The day began with 10 o’clock Mass at Holy Spirit, my Cortlandt parish, where my voice was not in its best condition after the yelling and screaming connected with last night’s victory. Mercifully, I sounded much better at noon Mass. I had hoped to discuss Father Kevin’s first pitch with him between Masses but he had another obligation today, so Father Francis, the Mount St. Mary College chaplain, filled in. The recollection of last night will be just as enjoyable when Father Kevin returns; there is a lot of baseball spirit at Holy Spirit, including Father Thomas Kiely, the pastor (Yankees), Deacon Ray Parchen (Mets), Joan Rojas, the music director (Yankees), and myself (Renegades and their alumni at Tampa Bay). In a secular version of ecumenical spirit, our choir includes at least one Boston Red Sox fan.
After Mass I scrambled over to the historic Little Red Schoolhouse in Cortlandt, where the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society (of which I am president) was having a joint open house from 2 to 4 p.m. in conjunction with Old St. Peter’s Church (1767) next door. In the course of the afternoon I led a dedication ceremony for a dogwood tree we planted in memory of longtime member Edith Ryan Young, who died in 2009, then rushed over to Old St. Peter’s to lead our annual memorial service for the eight French soldiers who died in Van Cortlandtville during the Revolutionary War. After a quick change of clothes I picked up Ceilia and we arrived at the stadium moments before the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Whew!
Both of us had things to do at home, so we did not linger long after the game. We had a nice chat with Hal and Grant in the parking lot while waiting for the bulk of the traffic to clear, then headed south.